Photo courtesy of Phi Kappa Tau / Twitter
Story by Andrew Wigdor / Editor-in-Chief and Angele Latham / News Editor
MTSU’s Phi Kappa Tau fraternity chapter suffered a loss Thursday night as member Jackson Rumley, 21, was involved in a fatal car wreck.
Rumley, a junior and mechatronics engineering major at MTSU, was in the single-vehicle crash in Bartow County, Georgia, according to Georgia State Patrol. The fatal collision happened around 8 p.m. Thursday on Interstate 75, near mile marker 293. According to Georgia State Patrol, Rumley was making a right turn when he lost control of the vehicle and veered off the road, striking a tree. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
Members of Phi Kappa Tau remember Rumley as a kind and curious student.
“I know that Jackson would want to be remembered as someone who never stopped questioning the world around him,” said Hayden Schimborski. “You could always tell that he genuinely cared about what you had to say, and he never stopped looking for a deeper meaning. I can say with utmost confidence Jackson was one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. Hands down.”
Schimborski is a sophomore and member of Phi Kappa Tau. He was chosen as Jackson’s little when he joined the organization. In fraternity life, a “big” is seen as a guide or role model for a new member of the organization, also known as a “little.”
“When I rushed, all nine of us (asked) Jackson to be our big,” Schimborski said. “I was the one he selected, becoming his little. We shared countless meals together, he slept on my couch weekly and we took several trips together. He was easily one of my closest friends. There wasn’t a GroupMe or a Snapchat group that Jackson and I didn’t share. He was the first and only big brother I ever had.”
Schimborski said that Rumley worked hard to unite the fraternity. Rumley held several positions in the fraternity such as athletics chair, treasurer and a member of the standards board.
“On top of being one of the best recruiters we had, Jackson was constantly working to bring the chapter closer together,” Schimborski said. “Every chapter, he would make a point to ask what we could be doing to become closer as brothers.”
While the loss of one of his closest friends is as difficult as it seems for Schimborski, he said the support of his fraternity brothers has helped immensely.
“Last Saturday, we had to clean out Jackson dorm with his grandparents,” Schimborski said. “(It’s) something that nobody should ever have to do, right? With the support of the 18 or so brothers around me, I was able to help while having several shoulders to cry on. We turned an emotionally draining experience into an opportunity to be with each other and overall just be there.”
Of those benefiting from the support of the Phi Kappa Tau community is Patrick Phetprasith, the current chapter president of the organization. This is the second death of a member in just two years, as member Darren Sirikoun died due to complications from a strain of pneumonia in 2017.
“Our chapter has dealt with an incident like this before with the loss of our brother Darren Sirikoun back in 2017,” Phetprasith said. “The first thing our chapter did when we heard the news was come together at the house and be with each other. We wanted to be there for each other at a time like this. It truly shows how much we care for each other and how strong the brotherhood is.”
Phi Kappa Tau will be holding a candlelight vigil in honor of Rumley on Wednesday in MTSU’s Tucker Theatre at 5 p.m.
To contact News Editor Angele Latham, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more news, follow us at www.mtsusidelines.com, or on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter at @Sidelines_News